Welcome to #AcWriMo on Writing & Publishing Books

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Welcome to Academic Writing Month!

This month academic writers everywhere share goals, progress, and frustrations using the #AcWriMo hashtag. Academic Writing Month is also a great time to develop new skills and sharing resources. The AcWriMo19 focus on MethodSpace is on all stages related to publishing books.

The November webinar, Write a Book! From Acquisition to Publication will feature two SAGE editors, Leah Fargotstein and Eric Garner. Leah Fargotstein is an acquisitions editor. Eric Garner is SAGE’s managing editor of US books production. I will moderate, drawing on my experience publishing books with SAGE and several other publishers. I will pose questions and make observations from the writer’s perspective. Together, we will explain how each step of the process works and discuss best practices for authors. All are welcome, so tell your colleagues and students. Registration is open now! Join us November 14, at the time in your zone.

Find original posts, guest contributions, links to resources, a webinar and Tweetchats throughout the month of November!

What is a book?

To begin with, let’s contemplate what we mean when we discuss books. Like many words, the definition has changed, thanks to technology.Does the term book refer to something with a lot of pages, bound and encased in a cover? Or is a book an audio file I listen to on my phone? Or a graphic story I grasp from pictures? Is a book a series of chapters, outlined in a table of contents and read in sequence, or section read from a downloaded PDF file? Is a textbook a big heavy (and expensive) tome, or a website I log into to access readings and media?

As a writer, what do you think about in regard to form and delivery of this thing you call a book? Importantly, what do the readers you hope to reach expect from a book? Let’s look at some options, and define terms we’ll use throughout the series.

Type, Content, and Audience

Who are you trying to reach? Are you hoping your book will be adopted as a text, read by others in your field or discipline, or used as a how-to guide by professionals or practitioners? Do you expect it to be a reference book accessed through an academic library, or available to anyone at the local bookstore?

  • Handbook of research:
    • Reference book that provides in-depth foundations on the topic(s), with contributed chapters or sections
    • Primary readers: Academics and students
  • Scholarly book:
    • A research-based book.
    • Primary readers: Academics and students, some general-interest readers
  • Textbook:
    • A book designed for instructional purposes.
    • Primary readers: Students
  • Workbook:
    • A book that contains exercises or prompts to be completed by the reader.
    • Primary readers: Students, professionals, practitioners
  • Guide:
    • A practical how-to book.
    • Primary readers: Students, professionals, practitioners
  • Professional or trade book:
    • A book typically written for a non-academic audience, can focus on how to apply or use research findings
    • Primary readers: Professionals, practitioners

Size and Form

What is the ideal length for your book? 

  • Small book: These books can range from 5,000 to 50,000 words
  • Monograph: Length dependent on content, typically shorter than a full-length book
  • Full-length book: Usually 70,000 words or more
  • Workbook: A book that allows readers to fill in templates, write or draw
  • Handbook or reference book: 1 or more volumes 

Delivery

How do you want readers to access books? While e-books have been commonly available for scholarly and academic books, newer forms such as audio or graphic books are becoming more popular and will undoubtedly reach the academic market soon.

  • Print book
  • Electronic book
    • Is it sold and read as an entire book?
    • Is it sold and read as discrete sections or chapters?
    • Is it distributed in formats easily read on mobile devices?
  • Audio book
  • Graphic book

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